First I have to tell you that in this story the person talking about the Memphis zoo isn't a real nice person so you'll have to excuse his take on the zoo in Memphis. Actually it is rated in the top ten in the country and for good reason. The people who work there as well as all the people who support it have done everything they can to make it a beautiful and nurturing place for its' residents. They take their work seriously and are a dedicated group of individuals. They have my respect and admiration for the job they do and the love and care they give to all the animals.
He stood in the shadows watching the young couple. They were laughing at the antics of a polar bear cub in a man-made pool on the other side of a large window. The couple had entered the cave like building that went down far enough for people to get below the water line and watch the bears in what was supposed to be a representation of their natural habitat. The person who stood in the shadows almost laughed at the idea.
Yeah right, you build an area out of concrete to look like rocks and the Arctic terrain to try and give the impression that the whole thing represented the animals naturally domain. Then these same idiots fill a pool with water and expected the animals to perform for the public and entertain the masses in order to collect a high fee in return. You do this with the selling pitch that you are trying to help these animals in their life like environment to help them be more at home. Right. It really boiled down to housing these animals in camouflaged cages in a climate that even in the winter was often higher than it was in their natural habitat in summer. The idiots would pile through and laugh and joke as the animals tried to live a life that was lost to them.
Now Jude didn’t have a particular love of any animal including humans but the irony of the situation and the stupidity of the people who came to see the trapped beast seemed to really get under his skin.
Jude had not planned on spending the day at the Memphis Zoo but he had spotted the couple earlier in the day and something about them had caught his attention and he had followed them here. The young couple had irritated him with their almost innocent absorption in one another. They were in love. The kind of silly, crazy, oblivious love that only the very young usually experienced. They looked at one another as if no one else in the world existed and the world was their playground. They moved through these early stages of the journey that would ultimately lead them down a path of disappointment with a belief that they would be together for all their lives living in harmony with one another. This trip would more than likely lead to cheating, lying, and a nasty breakup that would leave one or both damaged goods. Jude hated stupid people and in his opinion all people were stupid.
Jude continued to follow the couple as they made their way around the zoo and finally left through the front gate. He knew that the zoo here was considered one of the best in this country and maybe even the world but to him it was just a bunch of expensive cages to amuse the public.
Jude thought about taking them here in the parking lot of the zoo but decided to wait. He wanted to get them someplace more appropriate for his type of lesson. He wanted them totally alone where the terror would sink in to one or the other when he took the first one. He thought he might go for the guy first. Women where so much more fun to watch when scared than men. Men as a rule tried to cover up their fear while a woman was more honest in her emotional responses.
Jude continued to follow the couple and when they went into a homey little restaurant he debated following them in there. He did enjoy eating. It was one of the few things he was allowed to enjoy but decided he really wasn’t in the mood for anything to eat.
Usually Jude went for more interesting types. The harden criminals, murders, the lowest types of human existence there were but this young couple had set him off. Their very existence had set him on edge. He had hated them from the moment he had set eyes on them. He wanted to end their miserable lives even if they weren’t aware they were miserable.
He took up a spot not far from the door of the restaurant. He tried to understand his feelings of these two young lovers. They were both attractive in a wholesome sort of way. They were of course college students and planned on getting married after they graduated. He was always amazed with how he knew these things. That was something that never ceased to amaze him. It was the one thing that he took pleasure in. How he knew everything he needed to know about people just by locking in on them. He might be a creature of death but damn did it have its advantages.
Jude was snapped out of his own thoughts when he saw the couple come out of the eatery. They headed to their car and he stepped in behind them. He knew they couldn’t see him and they wouldn’t be able to until he was ready to be seen.
The restaurant was located on a street that was lined mostly with houses and the tiny parking lot had been full when they had arrived earlier. Now they walked down the tree lined street to get to their car. The couple walked in and out of shadows of the trees as they made their way back to their ride. When Jude thought they were far enough away from the place they had just left he slipped up closer to them and made a sound to get their attention.
Jude was tickled when the young girl gave a little squeal of surprise. The guy had quickly turned around as if he were going to try and protect his young fiancée should he need to. Jude knew that the boy’s efforts would be in vain.
“Can I help you?” The boy asked as he turned around to face the man who had startled him.
Jude’s quick movement was beyond anything the boy was able to counter and the boy felt some kind of rush go through him before he hit the ground. The girl started to scream but Jude simply held up his hand silencing the girl with that motion.
Jude shook his head to try and clear it. He had gotten a surprise in the moment he took the boy’s life. He thought he had picked up on everything about this couple but he had been wrong. He had not picked up on how dark the insides of the boy were.
He looked at the girl standing there shaking from fear and looking at the boy she loved laying at her feet. What Jude had just saved the girl from was far worse than anything he could do to her. He shook his head again and called the girl by her name.
“Lisa you’re going to hurt for a while over this but believe me you’ll get over it and you will never know the bullet you just dodged.” Jude continued to stare at the girl for a moment. She was pretty and the tears glistening in her eyes and on her cheeks only made her even prettier. For the first time in longer than he could remember he wanted to put his arms around someone and comfort them but he knew he couldn’t do that. The moment he did she was as dead as that monster on the ground.
Jude turned his back on the girl and walked back the way he had come. He didn’t finish what he had started. Back there on the ground was something far worse than him and he had left it where it was. Someone else would come by and take care of it. He had originally planned on setting the spirits of these young people loose to roam unguided on the earth but not even Jude could unleash that thing back there on the ground on an unsuspecting world. There were some things that not even Jude could let roam free.